infoTECH Feature

February 13, 2012

U.S. to Invest More in Cloud Computing Under Obama Budget Proposal

The U.S. government will invest more in cloud computing, but spend less on information technology next fiscal year if President Barack Obama’s budget proposal passes. Obama is seeking to balance investments with deficit reduction, according to news reports.

While Obama’s overall proposal cuts back on IT spending overall, his plan also expands investments in computing areas such as cloud-based services, Business Week reported. The proposed $78.9 billion technology budget calls for a decrease in IT spending by 1.2 percent next fiscal year.

“By doing more with less, the administration is driving savings across government and using those savings to reinvest in information technology and services that benefit the American people,” Obama said in a message accompanying the proposed budget for fiscal 2013, the year starting Oct. 1.

The Obama administration plans to shift more federal applications to cloud computing networks operated by contractors, Business Week reported.

Among those companies competing for U.S. cloud-computing contracts are Microsoft Corp., Google Inc., (News - Alert) Inc. and International Business Machines Corp., the report said. According to Business Week, 40 services have moved to the cloud while another 79 are scheduled for transition by June 2012, according to the budget. More than 50 legacy systems are eliminated.

In November, Obama signed an Executive Order directing government agencies to lower their spend on technology devices, printing, swag and vehicles by 20 percent, in an effort to cut waste and promote more efficient spending across the federal government.

Obama has outlined ambitious goals for technology savings, from cutting devices to limiting the production of hard copy documents and putting them online.

Some federal employees are issued more devices such as cell phones, smartphones, laptops and tablets than they need to fulfill their duties, the statement said, noting that in other cases, IT devices are purchased but go unused. 

Citing examples of recent cuts, the White House said the Department of Homeland Security previously spent millions of dollars each year by paying for unused cell phones and air cards and now the agency conducts annual audits of use and has saved $10.5 million, TMCnet reported.

In addition, the Department of Commerce saved $1.8 million as of late 2011 and will save a total of $3 million by disconnecting 2,648 wireless lines showing no usage for the past three months – including those assigned to retirees and former staff – as well as by optimizing rate plans.

Erin Harrison is Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives, for TMC, where she oversees the company's strategic editorial initiatives, including the launch of several new print and online initiatives. She plays an active role in the print publications and TMCnet, covering IP communications, information technology and other related topics. To read more of Erin's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Carrie Schmelkin

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